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The Department of Boyacá is recognized for being the birthplace of Colombian independence, for the battles in its high land between the liberating armies and the Spanish troops and for having been very influential in policy decisions that structured the modern Colombia.
For these reasons and many more, the Department of Boyacá is perhaps one of the 5 provinces in Colombia with the largest inflow of domestic and foreign tourists. As a legacy of its homeland’s history, this area of Colombia offers small towns with colonial architecture and religious property, as well as landscapes of warm and cold climate, unforgettable for any visitor.
Its capital is the city of Tunja, recognized for many years as the university and student city of Colombia ‚Äì here was founded the first school of Gran Colombia in 1822 – and visited by many tourists for its colonial architecture, museums of national history and religious monuments.
The Department of Boyacá is characterized by a high concentration of small colonial towns, such as Villa de Leyva, with its cobbled streets, Spanish architecture with white walls, green doors, and colorful balconies. Around this town there are many tourist activities like the Archaeological Park and the Fossil Museum, which presents an impressive 120-million-year-old fossil.
Very near the city of Tunja is located the Puente de Boyacá (Boyacá Bridge), a historical place where one of the most important battles of independence was fought. It was there that the Creole armies coming from Llanos Orientales and led by Bolivar and Santander, defeated the Spanish troops commanded by Jos√© Maria Barreiro. Close by, there is a monument to the lancers of Pantano de Vargas (Vargas Swamp Lancers), a structure over 33 meters high, which recalls the heroism of the lancer combatants in this battle of independence.
Likewise, the Department of Boyacá through its modern highways, leads visitors to other villages such as Ráquira, town famous for its handcrafts export; Chiquinquirá, visited by believers who peregrinate to the cathedral to worship the Virgin with the same name and Paipa which offers a special tourist infrastructure to spend vacations with the family.
As for natural attractions, this Department has the Laguna de Tota, the largest lagoon in Colombia with a tourist infrastructure of small hostels and resorts like the Decameron. The Laguna de Tota has an area of 53 square kilometers and a maximum depth of 60 meters. It is located at 3,000 meters above sea level, and among its attractions are its 5 islands and white sandy beaches. This natural reserve is ideal for the development of water sports and activities, such as diving.
Likewise, tourists can visit the Nevado del Cocuy favorite spot for climbers and campers, with heights ranging from 600 up to 5230 above sea level; the Parque Nacional Natural Pisba and the Laguna de Tota, among other natural attractions.
Foreigners interested in visiting this beautiful and historic department will have the tourist service provided by Mantaraya Travel, which will take them to the main sites and towns of Boyacá, and be in charge of the coordination of lodging, air and ground transportation and all the logistics necessary to get to see this historic department.
The Sutamarchán municipality, along with its rural zones, is another interesting tourist destination of the Boyacá Department. It is a small population with colonial architecture (founded on 1556), which offers tourist attractions like the Carrizal Well, with its thermal waters; the sulfur smelling and mysterious Jurado del Diablo (‚”Devil’s advocate‚”) cave; and the Ermitaño and Yucca waterfalls. This zone is also well known for its special gastronomy, including its longaniza (a pork cold meat), and for its mud handicrafts.
The different tourist attractions in this zone of the Boyacá Department can also be observed during an amusing horse ride (cavalcade). During 4 hours, tourists venture into riding across extensive mountain landscapes in the back of a horse, accompanied by expert guides and farmhands.
Check out our blog post on El Cocuy National Park, one of Colombia´s most breathtaking mountain ranges located in Boyaca.
Do not forget to wear comfortable clothing for the mid-morning hours and noon. At the end of the afternoon and night, it is indispensable to wear winter coats and jackets as the temperature drops notoriously, especially in summertime. It is very important to use sunscreen and to wear shoes for rough ground conditions The only way is by ground transportation in private car or bus, which can be taken in the Transportation terminal in Bogota or Tunja. The Laguna de Tota is located at about an hour and a half away from both Bogotá and Tunja.